Hi-Fi music players often cost an arm and leg. The popular amp maker, FiiO changed that perspective 2 years ago when they released the budget oriented FiiO X3. It started the trend of hi-res music players at a very low price point. Fast forward 2015 that company did another awesome job by releasing an even cheaper Hi-Fi 192 / 24 bit music player that I'm going to review right now called the FiiO X1.
|Meet the gorgeous FiiO X1!|
The FiiO X1 is FiiO's attempt to get the attention of budding audiophiles, musicians, music lovers and iPod fans. This is made for those who wanted their ultra high-res lossless files to be played on a portable device. Why? Most of the time your iPod, MP3 Player and even your phone can't play 192 KHz / 24 Bit type of files, but music players who have that capabilities are really very expensive. Okay now let's proceed to the review. :)
|FiiO X1's box|
The packaging of the FiiO X1 is pretty simple. It comes with a white small box showing a vinyl like design and an image of the device. For box collectors, the box is very easy to open and won't get damaged in that process.
Accessories and freebies
|That case is an essential! Good job FiiO!|
The box contains very useful accessories like 2 screen protectors, 3 types of stickers, 1 USB cable, 1 rubber case, warranty paper and user guide.
|A lot of skins to choose from!|
FiiO really knows what type of accessories their product will need! There's the ever important rubber case to prevent scratches and dents to accidental falls, you also get a 2 pcs of screen protectors and several sticker skins to style your DAP.
For a high-res music player under PHP 6K, I did not expect to see this type of build quality. It is splendidly made, the metal is well machined (no sharp edges) and the products feels really solid. FiiO deserves a lot of compliment in this department as every part of the device looks very good.
|Line-out / Headphone out here!|
|Power button, reset hole and volume rocker here|
|microSD Card slot here (storage capacity up to 128 GB)|
|micro USB port here|
When it comes to the design part, the FiiO X1 is definitely a looker. I got the gold version of the X1 which is strikingly beautiful. It looks lot an iPod, but a better and more expensive looking one. (The FiiO X1 actually looks like a PHP 20,000 player)
UI / Controls
|So far I like its interface better than the X3|
FiiO did a huge upgrade to the UI and controls of the FiiO X1 compared to the old FiiO X3. It is now easier to navigate, the controls are better and its easier to use. Looking into the software the FiiO X1 is also very organized you can choose a category of the song and browse your files easily. When it comes to the play settings it has that gapless playback capability, fix volume setting, and a customizable equalizer. On the general settings you can adjust the brightness set a screen lock, update media library and support to line out. Overall, user interface of FiiO is very easy to understand, use and explore.
|A closer look to the buttons, I also loved the scroll-able wheel for easier navigation|
The battery life of the FiiO X1 is very good! On a regular usage I only charge the X1 once every 4 days as I just use the music player during travels. FiiO claims this to have 12 hours of battery life and I was able to squeeze almost 12 hours on it at 50-60% volume. (11 hours and 33 mins to be exact)
Sound and Performance
The FiiO X1 is undeniably one of the best sounding portable budget HiFI DAP's right now. It's simply better than a lot of music players, sansa clip+ and any other iDevice I've heard so far. The sound signature of this music player is thick and warm! The lows full bodied, forward sounding and extends very deep. The mids is also surprisingly very clear despite the emphasis in the lows and the highs and have that soothing sparkle that's missing on on most smartphones I've tested. The soundstage and separation is one a very good level too that's wider and more detailed compared to most cheap mp3 players and iPods. However, purist may still find it a bit boomy as the X3 is a bit fun sounding music player, but for a bit bassy DAP this is a very detailed one.
|FiiO X1 and Havi B3 Pro I|
The FiiO X1 was also able to drive most headphones properly. It may lack a bit of power to drive some very powerful cans though. Fortunately this has a line out capability wherein you can use an external amp. When it comes to IEMS, it was able to drive the Havi B3 Pro 1 at just 40% volume very well and gave it an additional depth in the lows and wider feel. When I tested it on an unheard Capella SP11 IEM it sounded very detailed there and was able to unleash the true potential of the earphone. It was a very good pair to most of the IEMS I have here like the Brainwavz S0, RHA MA750i and Westone UM Pro 10.
|With Capella SP11|
The FiiO X1 supports all the major lossless formats. (APE, FLAC, ALAC, WAV & WMA) I was able to play all my lossless tracks here from 16 Bit FLAC to the 150 MB per song 24 Bit FLAC files. I just noticed that there's a little lag in the album art when switching from one song to another. Fortunately, there's no lag with the song switching itself, just the album art. I was also able to test some WAV files and MP3 here without having any problem at all.
|The FiiO X1 sounded fuller and better compared to the more expensive Sony MWZ-A15|
Compared to the FiiO X3, the X3 has a little bit more power and a very slightly better subjective sound. (Some people like the X1 over the X3 just like some like the E6 over the E11) If you'll be just using the X1 as a portable music player then there's no need to upgrade to the X3, but if you'll be driving a headphone that requires a bit more power and you need a DAC go for the X3. When it comes to amping, make sure to pair it with a good kind of amp to give you additional boost.
- 3.5mm headphone output jack
- Headphone Impedance Range 16~100Ω
- Volume control type 100 levels digital volume control mode
- Color Available: Silver and champagne
- Dimensions 96.X56.7X14.1(mm)
- Weight 106 g
- Display Screen TFT320X240
- Analog audio output jack 3.5mm headphone output jack
- Left right channel adjustment 5 dB
- Bass Boost NA Treble NA
- Digital audio output jack NA Gain selection NA
- USB DAC NA
- Partial performance parameters for line output
- THD+N < 0.003%@1KHz
- SNR > 110dB (A-Weight ）
- Frequency Response 20Hz~20KHz(<0.4dB)
- Dynamic range > 110dB
- Crosstalk > 100 dB @10KΩ @1KHz
- Line output Level > 1.46 Vrms
- Output Power 1 > 100 mW@16Ω THD<1% Output Impedance <2Ω
- Output Power 2 > 65 mW@32Ω Crosstalk >70 dB@1KHz
- Output Power 3 > 8 mW@300Ω THD+N < 0.004%@1KHz
- Frequency Response 20Hz~20KHz(<0.4dB) MAX output voltage > 4.2 Vp-p
- SNR > 110 dB (A计权) MAX output current > 46 mA
- Power USB 5V/500mA recommend USB 5V 2A
- Battery Capacity 1700 mAH
- Charge display red light indicates , green light turns on after fully charged
- Battery Life >12 Hours
- Battery display Yes
- Charging Time < 4 Hours
Pros - Great build quality, Sexy looking design, Lot of accessories, Battery life, Audiophile grade sound quality, Equalization, Easy to understand interface, Very very very low price!
Cons - Almost none for the price, except the UI lags a little (Doesn't affect sound performance though)
If you're looking for a dedicated music player... The FiiO X1 is a HUGE upgrade over MP3 players and iDevices (iPod, iPad and iPhone's) in terms of sound quality. FiiO X1 gives music real good justice at just PHP 5,990! No other player in this price point can give you this type of fidelity. Trust me! I believe that this is FiiO's way of helping the world understand what a good music player should sound like without breaking your bank account. It has that great combination of sound, build and easy to use interface at a very low price! It's a must buy product for everyone who just love music!